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Lotus 'will fight with everything for the championship'

ESPN Staff
March 18, 2013 « Whitmarsh responds to Horner swipe | F1 could have new Concorde Agreement in next few weeks - Todt »
Eric Boullier: "At least I can say Lotus F1 is a top team now" © Sutton Images
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Lotus team principal Eric Boullier says the team "will fight with everything for the championship" but isn't making that his primary target.

Kimi Raikkonen leads the championship standings after his victory in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix, with Lotus delivering on its potential immediately. It took the team until the 18th race of 2012 to record its one and only win, but Boullier was keen to stress he is just happy Lotus had secured a place among the front-runners this season rather than concerned with title predictions.

"We clearly stated we want to be a top team and starting the season like this it means we will fight with everything for the championship, but it is too early to say anything," Boullier said. "At least I can say Lotus F1 is a top team now and if every year we are putting ourselves in a situation where we can compete for wins this is where we wanted to be. Then from that we can expect and build up from the nice momentum to maybe one day be champion again."

Boullier admitted that he hadn't entertained thoughts that Raikkonen would win the race even after he made an impressive start.

"After Kimi's start I was secretly hoping we could catch a podium, and then definitely in the second stint when we saw the other team's pitting for a second time and being on a three-stop strategy then we started to say 'we can do it'. Two-stop was always the plan, even for [Romain] Grosjean."

However, asked if he expected Red Bull to run away with the race Boullier said: "Definitely, yes.

"We were scared a little bit, yes. But I think here their car is capable to get even more on one lap but less on a long run distance."

Boullier also said he hadn't really noticed a change in Raikkonen's approach to the season and said it was a positive after the way he ended 2012.

"He's smiling more; all weekend! Kimi's Kimi. Kimi has built up himself ... he's definitely starting the season like he finished the season last year so we can expect him to be strong. I don't think there is anybody on earth who can tell Kimi what to do so I'm not going to start to be honest."